Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 13 days
Monday’s Moon Shots
HONORING THE KING: Shortly after he stepped away from the game, the New York Rangers announced they will retire goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s jersey on Jan. 28 at Madison Square Garden. Known as “The King,” Lundqvist played 15 seasons for the Rangers and his number 30 will be the 11th jersey retired by the franchise.
DASTARDLY DUO: It seems that some players forgot that the rules of the game apply during the preseason, too. Washington Capitals defenseman Dylan McIlrath has been suspended for four games for an illegal check to the head, and Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig will serve a two-game suspension for cross-checking.
END PLASTIC WASTE: On opening night, the NHL will debut its new ADIZERO Primegreen jerseys for the 2021-22 season. In an effort to end plastic waste, each team will don sweaters made up of at least 50 percent recycled materials.
Tuesday’s Toe Drags
JACK OF ALL TRADES: The Lester Patrick Trophy is presented annually for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. This year’s recipient is Jack Barzee, a United States Hockey League (USHL) icon who has held nearly every hockey role possible over the last 50 years and has been a tireless advocator for the development of U.S. players.
EXTENDED BAY-CATION: Entering the final season of his deal, the Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to a contract extension with general manager Julien BriseBois. Since being promoted to GM in 2018, he has made several key transactions that led the franchise to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
Do you know Henrik Lundqvist?
- How many times was Lundqvist a finalist for the Vezina Trophy?
- Lundqvist made 23,509 saves throughout his career. Where does he rank all-time among NHL goaltenders?
- How many times was Lundqvist named the Rangers MVP?
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
MSk8 Debate 💬
As we head into the regular season, our crew at the Morning Skate will give our predictions for the 2021-22 NHL season. Today’s debate: Which team will win the Central Division?
BF: With the return of regular divisions, the Colorado Avalanche will surely miss feasting on former Honda West Division foes like the Kings, Ducks, and Sharks. What they won’t miss is eight games against the Golden Knights (plus potentially more in the divisional playoffs). There is no other Central Division rival that matches the caliber of Vegas, meaning that Colorado, even with Darcy Kuemper replacing Philipp Grubauer in net, shouldn’t have many obstacles in the hunt for a division title.
KF: The Central Division will be the most difficult to predict this season across the board. While the pressure will be on Colorado to remain at the top, they will again rise to the occasion. Although the Avalanche lost a few notable names, including Grubauer, they managed to keep one of the best lines in the NHL intact. Therefore, Colorado will be the team to finish at the top of the Central Division.
AM: Although they certainly took a step backward this offseason, the Colorado Avalanche still look primed to win the Central Division. With forwards Brandon Saad and Joonas Donskoi donning new sweaters, there are opportunities for youngsters like Alex Newhook to step up and play a larger role this season. Although the Winnepeg Jets made significant improvements this summer, the Avalanche have one of the most talented rosters in the league top to bottom and, quite frankly, it is their division to lose.
KK: This seems to be the Avalanche’s division to lose, but with the departures of Grubauer, Saad, and Donskoi, they could be in for a bit of a rough patch as the season wears on. With the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets back in their division, two teams that made significant improvements to strengthen their rosters in the offseason, it may not be quite a gimmie for the Avs. That said, I will take the field—specifically Chicago or Winnipeg—to win the Central this season.
VERDICT: Colorado leads the way with three votes, while Chicago and Winnipeg each received half a vote. Agree or disagree with our choices? Sound off on Twitter using #MSk8Debate or join the discussion on Discord.